The collection includes fifteen letters, 1866-71, from Henry Brown to Jacob H. Barnes. In the earliest letter, Brown instructs Barnes on how to travel to Bement, Ill., from Youngstown, Ohio, while later letters are written from Brown's homestead in Buffalo, Kansas, and urge Barnes to move to Kansas. Brown's letters contain descriptions of the homesteading process, the growth of the area, the coming of the railroads, a buffalo hunt, and the weather. The collection also includes numerous bills and receipts for taxes, merchandise, and labor. In addition, it contains an 1863 certificate honoring Barnes as one of the "Squirrel Hunters" (a spontaneous Ohio militia that mobilized in 1862 when C.S.A. Gen. Kirby W. Smith moved toward Cincinnati), a draft notice and a subsequent exemption, and a certificate of election to the office of Coroner of Piatt County.
Chapin Barnes of Bement donated the collection to the Library in 1977.